A maintenance worker at an Arizona golf course was stung nearly 2,000 times after he came upon a beehive, according to officials from the Arizona Fire and Medical Authority.
The incident took place at Pebblebrook Golf Course, which was one of the first golf courses built at the Sun City West retirement development on the city’s west side.
When firefighters first approached the man, they initially thought he was covered in grass clippings, according to a spokesperson for AFMA. But as they got closer, they discovered that they were bees instead.
Officials are not sure how the bees came to attack him, but firefighters dressed in bee hoods and turnouts to protect themselves used foam to subdue the bees and allow them to rescue the man.
He was then taken to a hospital for treatment, as of Monday morning the man remains intubated at the hospital.
According to AFMA, 2023 has seen six bee incidents with 15 in 2022.
The men were hospitalized after being stung several times in the face, ears and legs, according to a report.
What should I do if I encounter a swarm?
According to the Arizona Republic, if you find yourself squaring off against a potential swarm, the best thing to do is stay calm and leave.
“When dealing with bees that start coming towards you, the first thing they will do is bump you, because if they sting you they die,” President of the Beekeepers Association of Central Arizona and University of Montana Master Beekeeper Duane Combs told the Arizona Republic said. “When you see bees circling around you or bumping you, you need to back up and back out of the area.”
Don’t swat at them, either, as it’ll be perceived as an aggressive move, which could spark the bee into becoming more defensive, and increasing the possibility of getting stung.
Like most wild animals or insects, bees are just as unpredictable, meaning anyone, especially those allergic, should remain cautious.
“When you encounter bees, just move slowly out of the area, protecting your mouth and your eyes,” Combs said.
These are some additional tips from experts to help reduce grabbing a bee’s attention:
Avoid wearing dark, loose clothing or shiny objects while hiking
Avoid wearing perfumes, cologne, or strong scent
Don’t make jerky movements near hives
Do not swat at bees